Challenge

In 2009, His Holiness the Dalai Lama called on the world to educate the hearts – and not just the minds – of children. In 2013, UX for Good took up his challenge in partnership with The Dalai Lama Center for Peace + Education in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Designers spent two days observing practice and absorbing theory on child development and contemplative practice – in elementary schools, in university and at Heart-Mind 2013, a conference for practitioners in the field.

The positive impact of mindfulness programs on children’s health, behavior and academic performance was both readily apparent and substantiated by rigorous scientific study. Teachers who had integrated mindfulness into lesson plans and classroom management were overwhelmingly supportive of expanding the programs.

So why wasn’t mindfulness part of learning for every child?

Solution

Designers discovered there were two primary obstacles to broad adoption of mindfulness programs in schools. First, mindfulness training was competing with dozens, if not hundreds, of “magic bullet” solutions to challenges in public education — making it very unlikely that school districts and administrators would champion the cause. Second, mindfulness training was a relatively expensive proposition. Program licenses and related materials were pricey, limiting the number of school districts that could afford them.

Champions would have to come – not from the administrative ranks – by from teachers themselves. Also, program costs would have to be dramatically reduced if teachers were to persuade their colleagues to give mindfulness a try.

The designers’ answer was the “Heart-Shaped Toolbox,” a collection of digital tools that allow and encourage teachers to share mindfulness best practices — readings, activities, materials, research and support — with fellow teachers for free. This greatly increases the odds that believers – classroom teachers with first-hand experience of the positive impact of mindfulness programs – can convert the uninitiated. The Toolbox was supplemented by designers’ ideas for engaging school’ communities and extending mindfulness training to parents.

In 2014, The Dalai Lama Center began work on Heart-Mind Online — a rebranded version of the Toolbox.

Partners

Dalai Lama Center
Insight Labs

Designers

Lee-Sean Huang

Lee-Sean Huang

Designer and Educator (New York)

    Judy Siegel

    Judy Siegel

    Sr. UX Designer, CNN Digital (Atlanta)

      Davide Casali

      Davide Casali

      Head of Design, Dachis Group (London)

        Greg Melander

        Greg Melander

        Sr. Experience Design Lead, Microsoft Bing (Seattle)

          Marie-Claire Dean

          Marie-Claire Dean

          Lead Product Designer, Atlassian (Sydney)

            Brian Winters

            Brian Winters

            Design Research Director, Manifest Digital (Chicago)

              Jason Kunesh

              Jason Kunesh

              UX Director, Obama for America (Chicago)

                Emily Luke

                Emily Luke

                Designer and Researcher, ThoughtWorks (SF)

                  Carolyn Chandler

                  Carolyn Chandler

                  UX Director, Manifest Digital (Chicago)

                    Dan Saimo

                    Dan Saimo

                    Visual Systems Team Lead, Microsoft Bing (Seattle)

                      Wil Kristin

                      Wil Kristin

                      Strategy/Community Lead, Context Partners (Portland)

                        Patrick DiMichele

                        Patrick DiMichele

                        Interaction Design Director, Manifest Digital (Chicago)

                          Organizers

                          Jason Ulaszek

                          Jason Ulaszek

                          Founder, UX for Good / EVP, Experience Design, Manifest Digital

                            Jeff Leitner

                            Jeff Leitner

                            Dean, Insight Labs

                              Provocateurs

                              Yarrow Kraner

                              Yarrow Kraner

                              Founder, HATCH Experience

                                Brad Smith

                                Brad Smith

                                Executive Director, WebVisions

                                  Jim Jacoby

                                  Jim Jacoby

                                  Founder, ADMCi

                                    Howell Malham

                                    Howell Malham

                                    Co-Founder, Insight Labs

                                      Andrew Benedict-Nelson

                                      Andrew Benedict-Nelson

                                      Director, Insight Labs

                                        Chris Kelly

                                        Chris Kelly

                                        Senior Consultant, Dalai Lama Center

                                          Sponsors

                                          Bing
                                          RiverRock Partners
                                          SCE
                                          ADMCi
                                          positivity
                                          intel
                                          HATCH